Saturday had always been Thomas’s lazy day. It was the end of the week and he almost always had stress that had to dissipate. Also, any homework or prep for the upcoming week could wait until Sunday.
Thomas woke up around eight thirty and ventured into the kitchen, still in his pyjamas. He took the time to make eggs and toast before settling at the kitchen table. When he was a kid, he had eaten breakfast in front of the television while watching cartoons. Now, he watched dumb internet videos on his phone instead.
Out of the corner of his eye, Thomas could see his stepdad working in the backyard just outside the kitchen window. They had a small yard, and Hugh didn’t let anyone help him maintain it. He claimed it was the only exercise he got, and Thomas wasn’t dumb enough to insist on helping.
His mom was probably upstairs looking through her closet. She usually went out on Saturday nights, either with volunteer groups, friends, or the occasional date night with Hugh. She would be playing dress up until she realized it didn’t matter what she wore and just grabbed the closest dress.
Thomas was putting his breakfast dishes in the dishwasher when he heard a knock on the door. He went to open it, prepared to tell whoever it was that he was a minor and couldn’t purchase whatever they were selling.
Briar glared at him.
He gulped, taking in her camo pants and neon orange shirt. She looked like she was going hunting, and Thomas couldn’t shake the idea that he was the prey. Had she specifically dressed like that to intimidate him? Why?
“What did I tell you?” She asked in a forced even tone.
“Wh--” Thomas coughed, trying to clear the lump of surprised fear from his throat. “What do you mean?”
She put her hands on her hips. “‘Don’t treat Logan any differently.’ Ring any bells?”
“I-- What?” Now Thomas was just confused.
“The silent treatment?” Briar prompted. “Giving him the cold shoulder at lunch yesterday?” She sighed and shook her head in disbelief. “Honestly, I thought you were better than that. I guess it was just wishful thinking.”
Her words made Thomas forget his fear in favour of getting ticked off. Sure, he felt bad for ignoring Logan yesterday, but he didn’t think it warranted this kind of reaction. He hadn’t acted in response to Logan’s… whatever.
“You don’t know anything.” He growled at her. Before he could stop himself, he went on a rant about the family tree assignment. He told her about how people had always looked at him funny because of their family layout. He even admitted that sometimes he wished things were different, normal, and that his parents had never gotten divorced.
Briar was silent for a moment after he had finished. Then her glare returned, only this time it was icy. “Oh, boo hoo. So, what? You’re going to ignore the imperfections? Draw your tree to hide us?”
Thomas’s throat felt dry. “That’s not what I--”
Briar spread her arms wide. “Newsflash, Thomas; there’s no such thing as a perfect family. But if you want to try so hard, stay away from me and my brother.” She spun around and walked away.
Thomas was left standing on the front porch, still in his pyjamas. He wondered what had happened, and why Briar couldn’t understand how he was feeling.